Production of two international feature films and a TV drama series
Significant US marketing opportunities for iconic WA tourist attractions
$14 million boost for Kimberley, Mid-West and local screen industry
Supported by $16 million WA Regional Film Fund administered by Screenwest
Made possible by Liberal National Government's Royalties for Regions
Three high-profile productions - two features and a prime time television drama series - will be filmed in Western Australia this year, as the Liberal National Government's $16 million WA Regional Film Fund helps put the State in the international movie spotlight.
"This highlights the star power of the film fund and is an exciting time for the WA screen industry," Culture and the Arts Minister John Day said.
"Eight months after its launch, the fund has helped secure its first Hollywood-Australian feature and UK-Australian feature as well as a major Australian television series.
"It is estimated they will contribute more than $14 million to the WA economy."
Feature film Wonderful Unknown follows Annie, an American housewife trapped in a failing marriage. Annie decides to embark on a road trip with her wild and adventurous best friend across the Australian Outback, to scatter her mother's ashes. Once there, she discovers her mother's last wish renews an inner strength and with that, the possibilities of a new beginning.
"Wonderful Unknown has real potential to promote WA internationally, particularly to the American market," Mr Day said.
"The destination central to the storyline is Broome's Staircase to the Moon phenomenon at Cable Beach but filming is set to take place in Kununurra, the El Questro Wilderness Park including Emma Gorge, and on outback routes such as the legendary Gibb River Road.
"The producers are in final talks with an A-list Hollywood star for the lead role who, together with the locations, will provide invaluable marketing opportunities."
Wonderful Unknown is produced by Victoria-based James Hoppe and John Finemore with Hollywood producer Mason Novick (Juno, 500 Days of Summer).
Also supported by the regional film fund is the feature film adaptation of Dirt Music, based on Tim Winton's Miles Franklin Award-winning and Booker Prize short-listed novel.
Dirt Music follows Georgie Jutland, an unconventional woman in a conventional town, living with her widowed partner and his two small children. An encounter with enigmatic poacher Lu Fox, an outsider to the community, reignites her sense of purpose and this unlikely affinity leads them both to find where they truly belong.
Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said both projects would showcase the State's outstanding tourism assets and provide significant economic and creative opportunities for WA crew, actors and extras and local businesses, especially in the Mid-West and Kimberley.
"Dirt Music is the first major film to be shot in the Mid-West for many years," Mr Redman said.
"Local businesses will benefit through the production team buying locally, and local tourism businesses will be able to capitalise on spin-off marketing opportunities, with Dongara, Port Denison and surrounds showcased on the big screen."
Dirt Music is produced by Academy Award nominated and BAFTA winning producers Finola Dywer and Amanda Posey (both Brooklyn, An Education) with Angie Fielder (Lion, Wish You Were Here) and will be directed by Gregor Jordan (Buffalo Soldiers, Ned Kelly, Two Hands) with the screenplay by Jack Thorne (Wonder, The Last Panthers).
Also funded is a soon to be announced six-part drama series for prime time Australian television from producers Greer Simpkin (Jasper Jones, Goldstone, The Secret River) and David Jowsey (Jasper Jones, Goldstone, Mystery Road, Satellite Boy). All six episodes will be shot in the iconic Kimberley cattle country.
Mr Day said Screenwest had worked hard to secure the return drama series for WA.
"Generally, production of a TV series employs a large number of people for a longer period of time, so it's fantastic for WA's screen industry that this project is coming here," he said.
Mr Redman said collectively the three productions would spend about 51 weeks in the State including pre-production and filming.
"This is what the regional film fund is all about, fostering continuity of work so we can build WA skills and more jobs in production and across the regions," he said.
"We've seen through the films previously supported through Royalties for Regions, including Ben Elton's Three Summers, RED DOG: True Blue, Breath and Jasper Jones, that moviemaking brings communities together and yields significant economic outcomes for local businesses."
Screenwest administers the fund, partnering with regional development commissions to market WA locations locally and overseas to attract productions
The WA Regional Film Fund supported Ben Elton's Three Summers, currently in post-production
Culture and the Arts Minister's office - 6552 6200
Regional Development Minister's office - 6552 6700